Sunday, April 19, 2015

Make Room!

Unbeknownst to me, the lads (led primarily by Scott) conspired with Audrey over the holidays to arrange construction of a second bathroom in our basement. The hand was tipped a little before Xmas in order to give the planners an idea of what they were working with, but I was still surprised on Christmas Day to receive an assortment of Batman-themed washroom accoutrements from the girls. Apparently they had decided that since the basement has been known colloquially as The BatCave since time immemorial, it made sense for the theme to run to the basement facility. When we finally set up a date to begin construction, I entitled the email invitation "BatCan Begins".
It is important to note that I am a long ways removed from Red Green and his ilk, and not just because I happen to be lazy; I am not a particularly handy individual, lacking not only the tools and skills needed to be a successful renovator, but also the courage to try and fail. I don't even watch the renovation shows so many others commonly refer to!

Thankfully project manager Scott was able to come up with a simple plan very quickly, and was prepared to do the wiring and electrical work that I find most daunting, while foreman Jeff has a tremendous amount of skill and experience in both framing and drywalling, having done two of his own basements and numerous jobs for others.
There were still a handful of 1s rolled during the day, some in planning and others in execution ("Oh, hell, did I say 74 inches? I meant...") but nothing that required the undoing of any previous steps, and all things that could eventually be worked around, often facilitated by a brief bit of groupthink.
Earl and I largely hauled things around and did what we were told, while Pete and Mike assisted Jeff and Scott more directly as needed. I take quite easily and naturally to a support role in such endeavours, and was happy to make multiple trips to Rona for supplementary supplies, and to grill up Polish sausage and pork chops for lunch and supper. From each according to their abilities, right? Earl's blog post has a great assortment of work-in-progress pictures.
It was about a 12 hour day of more or less steady labour, interrupted only by meals and the intermittent palaver about the best way to proceed, as well as the occasional annoying question by myself. It could not be helped; for me, the act of turning a seemingly random assortment of lumber, drywall and copper pipe into not just a room, but a bathroom, one of the most challenging renovations, was nothing short of a miracle. It was old hat to most of the lads, but to Earl and I, it was a feat of prestidigitation verging on the supernatural.
In the end, where there was once a basement space accumulating clutter, there now stood a better than 6' x 6' room, including a flushing toilet (with an ironic incontinence issue I am assured will be sorted out directly), pipes ready for the laundry tub sink, a simple, 2-bulb light fixture and additional outlet, and with a working door to enclose the works.
Today Glory and I managed to cut and affix the final few pieces of drywall needed and tidied the place up in anticipation of what I understand to be a fairly demanding step: drywall taping and mudding.
At the supper table last night though, I struggled to express to my friends just how wondrous such an achievement was to my eyes with a toast, telling the assembly that in a few days, coworkers and associates would ask me what I had done on the weekend. And how I would be humbled and amazed to tell them that my friends gave up a day off in its entirety to toil like Moses' kin under the whips of the pharaoh in order to make my homely house a little more hospitable.
And when these others ask what I could possibly have done to deserve such friends, I would have to liken it to the grace spoken of in scriptures, and tell them that no one could hope to earn such fellowship, but only hope to repay it with the most sincere gratitude, and also in kind, with time.

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